The Tribe Times

We Won’t Get a Ticket For This

Staff Editorial

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If you are going to treat high school students like elementary school students, at least give us the recess time we’ve earned.

School is meant to be business environment and should be treated as such. We come to school every day to learn and to teach. We, along with many others, have been in this district for as many as 12 years. The teachers here have never failed to prepare the student body for our future as best as they could.

However, if you still think you need to teach 17-year-olds how to use the bathroom “safely,” then we think you’ve missed your mark.

Dr. Tracy Platt is a brilliant woman with many great ideas. Whether those ideas are suitable for meeting the needs of high school students is questionable. Last Thursday, Aug. 17, she and the administration delivered the first part of their plan to unify the classes and build student culture, by having all students, freshman and seniors alike, go through behavior plans for every area in the school in a lecture that lasted the entirety of the school day.

Platt’s plan, while sound for elementary students, seemed extremely demeaning to the majority of students. The student body is made up of many bright young minds that almost always exhibit good behavior in their classes. In Thursday’s lectures, presentations were delivered with poorly written skits and condescending chants focused on correcting bad behaviors that the vast majority of students have never had issues with. The entire school was punished for the actions of a select few students. It was clear that the students that needed these lectures the most were the ones that were not paying attention.

Students were told to discourage bad behavior in their peers with the phrase “we don’t do that here.” Unfortunately, this phrase immediately became a joke among students. When it has been used around the school, it is accompanied by a sarcastic tone, ultimately making it ineffective.

Dress code, along with other things such as bathroom and hallway procedures, was a topic reviewed with students.

“Raise your hands, touch your toes. If anything shows, change your clothes.” We completely agree with the dress code policies. Students here, both male and female, should hold themselves to the highest standards. But being required to recite this chant has been one of the most humiliating experiences we have witnessed in our time in this district.

On Wednesday, Aug. 23, another new policy was introduced during Warrior Time classes: the PBIS system, explained as “Positive Behavior and Supports at Smithville High School.” In this system, students will be rewarded for positive behaviors by being given tickets that are redeemable for prizes.

Sound familiar? This policy was also implemented in grades 3-5 in elementary school.

The PBIS strategies have been proven to work. However, now that all students know that teachers are instructed to complement them constantly, things seem significantly less sincere. Kids feel as if they are being mocked by the required positive reinforcement. These strategies were not only used on us when we were children, but they were implemented at the high school by showing videos in Warrior Time classes that were meant for elementary school aged children.

As mentioned before, school is a business environment. We should respect our peers, teachers and administrators just as we would coworkers and bosses in the work field. Nevertheless, high school students cannot be treated like third graders while being expected to act like adults. We ask, as students, please do not bribe us to behave well with tickets and compliments. Instead, consider this: level with us. Reward us for things we deserve to be rewarded for, such as GPA or low absences and tardies. All we ask for is the level of respect that would be given to the proper adults you want us to be.

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6 Comments

6 Responses to “We Won’t Get a Ticket For This”

  1. Logan Littleton on August 25th, 2017 8:55 pm

    I think this whole article is really great. It brings up all the issues the students have with the new policy while keeping it respectful and unemotional. I really like how the article talks about Dr. Platt, and how respectful it is of her, because most students hold her personally responsible for all the new changes. Overall, it’s very good with tone and how it gets it’s point across.

  2. Laura alexander on August 25th, 2017 8:57 pm

    Thank you so much for speaking on behalf the entire student body with this article. I agree 100%, and so does every single person I’ve talked to about it so far. The article is respectful and well written but gives light to how we feel perfectly.

  3. Greta Zolynas on August 25th, 2017 9:18 pm

    The atmosphere at our school is very different from years past. There are great things going on. I’ve never seen so much school spirit in all my years here… and honestly? It’s awesome.
    The first day activities were kind of demeaning. “Pick up after yourself. Say hello to teachers. Flush the toilet.” Thanks, but if we need to remind our HIGH SCHOOL students of basic manners, the problem is elsewhere.
    Smithville is moving in a good direction. It’s empowering to see students using their voice to push for change.

  4. stone on August 25th, 2017 10:07 pm

    yo, whoever wrote this, good job, you hit it right on the nose

  5. Davey on August 26th, 2017 4:33 pm

    This is spot on. One thing is the dress code though…I don’t see why girls have to cover half of their butt if they’re wearing jeans or leggings. I get it if it’s see through but some leggings aren’t see through & they’re completely comfortable for girls.

  6. John Doe on August 26th, 2017 5:27 pm

    It’s very sad that the views expressed in this article are being supported. As it is quite clear, made clear by the fact that readers were unable to comprehend the tone taken up by the author which is openly condescending and demeaning in and of itself, that the publishers of the article are clearly unaware of the fallacies reached by their own student body. I find that it was very hypocritical of the author(s) to use and attack the issues in which they did, as using the very same points of which they criticize to get across their point. If, for any reason, one is sceptacle of the ability of a high school student to “flush” the toilet, their inquiries may be met by entering the high school restroom on any given day..a sight that is very disheartening, even for the most optimistic of individuals. In terms of treating high school students with the respect they “deserve,” one must understand that the concept of respect is earned rather than simply dished out. The best way to change behavior is to provide detailed outlines of what acceptable behavior is meant to look like, so that it may be carried out. The behavior of an elementary student is not far unlike that of a high school student, the main difference being that high school aged individuals often seem to come to the far off concept that they should be entitled to certain things and can now “think critically” of both others and themselves (more often than not struggling with understanding the reasons for authority and the entire concept of rules). To think that one is above PBIS is simply ludicrous, and even more so to think that the concept of exchanges being offered for certain types of behavior would not work could not be further from the truth. Sure, could the rewards for the behaviors be different? Of course. But to say that high school level individuals do not need to be reminded of why they are doing something is simply a concept that the author(s) mistakenly have no understanding of. And approaching the issue in this manner, seemingly publicly condemning the acts of authority is simply not the route in which to go if change is what the composers wish to see happen. Change that will occur without having even given the chance to see the positive benefits the new goals may bring to the schooling environment. Now, I am no genius, but wouldn’t it make more sense to take up action (maybe by meeting with administration face to face,just one example) in a manner that would promote positive change for the views you feel are so “oppressive” to your entitled rights as students? Grow up. If you are unable to see the positive change that is trying to be implemented into a much needed system (most, if not all, is being resisted with full force) then I feel sympathetic for your close minded views, the exact type of thinking that is being combatted currently in the district.